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August 22, 2002 | 1350 IST

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Aussie players to sign ICC contract

Australia will send a full-strength team to next month's Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka after the players accepted an International Cricket Council contract on sponsorships for the tournament.

The Australian Cricket Board and the Australian Cricketers Association met in Melbourne on Thursday and announced that the players and the national governing body would sign the agreement.

However, the players will only sign subject to the ICC consulting with them on sponsorship deals, ACA chief executive Tim May said.

In relation to the issue of player consultation, ICC president Malcolm Gray said, “I do not expect any problem obtaining Board approval which will be done at a meeting to take place next week.”

“The importance of hearing the players’ voice when making decisions is well recognised. ICC management is currently working on a number of ways to increase the involvement of players in the administration of the game” he said.

Mr Gray urged other boards to finalise their negotiations with their players as soon as possible.

A boycott of the 2003 World Cup and the Champions Trophy loomed when the ICC sought to prohibit players from endorsing companies that rivalled its commercial sponsors for a period extending from a month before to a month after major international tournaments.

The Indian squad has refused to sign any contract that prevents individuals from undertaking personal endorsements, which provide the bulk of earnings for many players in South Asia, and risk being excluded from the Champions Trophy.

The Indian selectors have named a provisional 25-man squad, excluding all the players currently on tour to England, if the top players like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly refuse to budge.

Players from South Africa, England and West Indies are still opposed to the limitations on individual endorsements.

The Australian squad departs for Kenya on Monday for a three-nation tournament.

Complete coverage of the contract row

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